The Blue Jackets lost 4-3 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers, seeing their losing streak extend to seven (0-3-4), in front of another sellout crowd on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
In a fast-paced, intense game, Columbus came flying out of the gate and held a 2-0 lead early and a 3-1 lead in the second only to see the Flyers tie the score by the end of the middle stanza. The game stayed tied throughout a taut third period and into overtime, but Kevin Hayes finally won it 3:51 into the extra frame. Despite the setback, Columbus moved back into a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race for the time being.
Video: CBJ Recap: Bjorkstrand records two points in OT loss
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "I thought we hung in there, we played hard. Found a way to lose it at the end."
- Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist, giving him a team-leading 21 tallies as well as a 14-6-20 line in his last 27 games. He left the game, though, after crashing into the boards as the horn sounded to end regulation.
- Nick Foligno ended a 12-game streak without a goal by scoring a spectacular between-the-legs tally, and the captain also added an assist in his 900th career NHL game. He also took a puck to the face in the third period but returned to action.
- Stefan Matteau scored a goal in his Blue Jackets debut, his first tally since playing for New Jersey on Dec. 4, 2015, vs. the Flyers.
Quick Recap (PHOTO GALLERY)
There was a wild start in the first period as Columbus scored twice in the first 10 minutes, only to see the Flyers immediately counter the second goal.
It took just 41 seconds for Bjorkstrand to get on the board, though very few people knew it at the time. A nice diagonal pass from Foligno fed him into the zone, then Bjorkstrand jetted by defenseman Trais Sanheim and snuck a quick shot past the glove of goalie Brian Elliott short-side. The cannon didn't go off and it wasn't immediately called a goal because the puck stuck under the back bar of the net, but review showed it was a good goal and the Blue Jackets had a 1-0 lead.
As nifty as that goal was, it didn't hold a candle to the second CBJ tally, which came at 9:05. This time, it was Bjorkstrand who fed Foligno into the zone, and he got the puck behind the defense and couldn't quite corral it until he got right in front of Elliott, where in one swift motion the captain put the stick between his legs and roofed a shot past the goalie as he went for the poke check.
But that 2-0 lead lasted just 25 seconds as the Flyers got another deflected goal on the other end at 9:30. Sanheim fired from the right point and the shot appeared to be going wide, but Flyers forward Travis Konecny was tied up with Vladislav Gavrikov near the far post and the puck went off of his skate and into the net past Elvis Merzlikins.
As wild as the opening minutes were, the rest of the game promised to be the same, and it was. It stayed a 2-1 game through the first period, but Columbus made it 3-1 just 3:39 into the second as Matteau scored in his first NHL game since 2018. Matteau camped in front and tipped Boone Jenner's shot past Elliott to double the CBJ advantage.
Columbus held the two-goal lead for much of the second period and appeared to be pushing for another goal, but in the span of 1:26, the Flyers tied the game. First, at 14:26, it was Nicolas Aube-Kubel who made it 3-2 as he skated into the zone with speed, used Gavrikov as a screen and fired past the glove of Merzlikins from the top of the right circle.
Then Claude Giroux tied it with a power-play goal at 15:52. Sean Couturier had the puck behind the net off a faceoff win and fed Giroux at the right faceoff dot for a one-timer that beat Merzlikins off the far post and in.
Things then turned physical, as in the final minute, Nathan Gerbe leveled Giroux with a check, prompting Travis Sanheim to jump in and leading to gloves flying and a prolonged wrestling match between the 6-foot-3 Sanheim and 5-foot-4 Gerbe. That led to a CBJ power play, and the Jackets got a two-man advantage that stretched into the third period when Kevin Hayes was sent off for slashing.
Columbus couldn't take advantage, though, with the best look coming off a one-timer from Zach Werenski that Elliott was able to control. Another chance went awry when Gus Nyquist took a shot and it deflected into the face of Foligno, but the captain would later return. Another chance went begging, too, three minutes into the period as Gavrikov stepped into a shot but drilled the post to Elliott's right.
It stayed a 3-3 game going into overtime, where each team had its chances until Hayes worked his way across the zone, crossed up two CBJ defenders to get open in the left circle and beat Merzlikins far side 3:51 into the extra frame.
1. There was no update on the status of Bjorkstrand at the end of the game after he crashed into the boards hard while trying to get the puck to the net at the end of regulation. He appeared to jam his left leg into the boards and favored it as he skated slowly back to the bench, then went straight down the tunnel, and the team's leading goal scorer didn't play in overtime. Everyone certainly hopes for it to be nothing major, but with the way the CBJ season has gone, it's hard not to expect the worst. It would be another body blow to the Blue Jackets if he has to miss any time, as he's tallied nine of the team's 26 goals in the past 13 games and assisted on four others. The injury luck is almost comical at this point for Columbus, inasmuch as you almost have to laugh to keep yourself from crying.
2. Another player who appeared to be set to join the ranks of the walking wounded was Foligno, who got cracked in the visor by a puck early in the third period and suffered a facial injury. He returned minutes later -- of course he did; toughest current NHL captain, right Letterkenny fans? -- to complete a busy night. Foligno played 22:17, had a goal and an assist, was in the penalty box for a Flyers goal, threw two hits and blocked two shots, and won 6 of 11 faceoffs, all in his 900th NHL game. On a night when the Blue Jackets needed their captain, he certainly provided an energy boost, though he did not talk to the media postgame as he continued to receive treatment.
3. After just about everything broke right for the Blue Jackets as they earned points in 24 of 26 games to claw back into the playoff race, just about everything has broken wrong for the team during the seven-game winless streak. It's not just the injuries but the bounces -- see the first Flyers' goal off the skate of Konecny as he was falling to the ice -- and some critical errors, too. Tortorella was particularly peeved by the second goal, as a CBJ turnover led to a rush and Merzlikins got beat from long range. "That one hurts," Tortorella said. Moments later, Foligno took an offensive zone penalty and the Flyers tied the game on the power play. Then there was the OT goal, as Foligno and David Savard got crossed up on a switch and gave Hayes enough room to fire home the winner. A few weeks ago, those mistakes probably don't doom the Blue Jackets. Now they do. All Columbus can do is hope to gain some traction and get back on the other side of things.
Markus Nutivaara had the second assists on the Foligno and Matteau goals, giving him his first multipoint game of the season and a 1-3-4 line in the last five games. It is his first multipoint game since Nov. 20, 2017. … Bjorkstrand tied his season high with a six-game point streak. ... Of Foligno's 900 NHL games, 549 have come in a Blue Jackets sweater, tying him for fourth all-time with Savard. … It was the third time in five games Columbus took a 2-0 lead but lost in overtime. … Columbus has dropped four straight overtime games and has an NHL-most 13 losses after regulation. ... A sellout crowd of 18,365 was in Nationwide Arena, the 11th CBJ sellout of the year and the ninth in the last 13 home games. ... One year after the Blue Jackets swept the season series, Philadelphia won all four games this season. Columbus is 13-1-2 in the last 16 home games vs. the Flyers.
The Blue Jackets inserted the newly signed Matteau into the lineup for his CBJ debut in place of Sonny Milano. Scratches were forward Milano and defenseman Gabriel Carlsson, while injured goaltender Joonas Korpisalo is in Cleveland on a conditioning assignment.
The Blue Jackets hit the road Saturday night for the first meeting of the year with Nashville.